Patrizia Gobbi, General Management
Q: Patrizia Gobbi, how would you describe your experience before Absolute?
A: I would say it was filled with passion and excitement, and so was my first experience with the sea and boats as a child, when I would follow my father. I was passionate about studying business and languages, and I soon obtained my boating license. I was passionate about each of my jobs, from my first experience in the family shipyard in 1994, to this day. I was passionate about learning every aspect of developing, designing, building and selling the boat, from the initial concept to the launch.
I started working in the logistics department, where I monitored the work of different departments and production times to create a schedule for all departments. This experience allowed me to learn important information on production times and processes, as well as technical details about boats and their components.
Because I knew the product well, I could also allow myself to explore sales, after-sales and communication activities, and within a short time, back in 1996, I became Head of Communication, Sales and After-sales service. I actively contributed to the expansion of the company’s international sales network by transforming our brand into a leader in the boating market in the Mediterranean area, both in Europe and outside Europe, northern Europe, Australia and the United Arab Emirates.
My role and the expansion of our sales and promotion abroad also pushed me to become interested in the administrative area, with a focus on exports, including both customs and tax matters.
At the same time, I took care of aligning the brand’s communication with the company’s expansion and internationalisation process by organising our participation in several international trade shows.
Q: Patrizia Gobbi, you have been part of Absolute since its inception. You have dealt with many aspects within the company. How was your career at Absolute?
A: Again, it was exciting, even more than before, since I immediately realised that the founders shared the same passion for boating that I had experienced myself. In 2005 I chose Absolute when I saw the enthusiasm of its shareholders, the people in the team, who I already knew, and the high levels of boat quality and style. I became General Manager. My knowledge of the market and my expertise in various areas, including production, administration and sales, helped the company go global and strengthen its IT and human resources. In 2006 and until 2019, I focused more on our sales network, on brand development and the digital transformation of our business systems. We also founded a subsidiary in the United States in 2017, and I took care of building an all-American team.
Q: What is the role of your department within the company?
A: I would say I cover the “behind the scenes” to promote cross-departmental collaboration and to enable every other department to understand if the right decisions are being made and to define new corporate goals and projects.
Q: Absolute is different from many other shipyards. Can you tell us how?
A: Absolute’s unique values, which set it apart from other shipyards, are reflected even in the choice of the brand’s name: Absolute is a ‘global’ word that is pronounced in the same way and has the same meaning in many languages. This creates a sense of unity and continuity, in terms of corporate values and philosophy, which is Absolute’s strength and distinctive character. Our global focus is reflected in our attention to each geographical area and the needs of a varied clientele, to make sure we design products that always meet their needs.
At the same time Absolute is a strongly local business. Over the years, Absolute has been offered to de-localise production to get tax benefits or logistical support, but the company was founded in Piacenza and it is intricately linked to the local context. This company has grown here, capitalising on local human resources, training young talents and establishing long-lasting relationships. The investments made in 2002, 2008, 2016, 2019, and the ones we have already planned to make, are all concentrated in our area. And we will continue to invest in young people. The average age of the Absolute team is lower than in other companies; the presence of enthusiastic and determined young people strongly contributes to the company’s dynamic development and efficiency.
These two aspects are connected to another distinctive feature, that is to have independent, enterprising staff in every area of our business, in our management as well as in the entire Absolute team. From the initial concept to the boat launch, everything is planned and done in-house. Our production relies on a vertical integration process; we listen to customers’ needs and translate them into a product consistent with the company’s values.
Integrating all these aspects has allowed Absolute to go international within a few years.
Q: If you had to list three winning factors at Absolute, which ones would you mention?
A: Teamwork, dialogue and innovation. Absolute strongly promotes teamwork and dialogue, both internally and externally. We are a close-knit team at all levels. This combined with the openness of the shareholders, who are directly involved in the company, allows us to set specific, concrete objectives, and to pursue them with a dynamic approach.
Absolute’s structure is streamlined thanks to the strategic roles of the directors, who foster team growth and encourage openness and listening. Dialogue has also helped improve our sales network and product development. Each boat is the result of our ability to bring together different visions of boating and ways of using boats in various markets.
Team spirit and constant dialogue lead to Absolute’s third winning factor, a common thread that defines the company’s history, products and production processes: the ability to innovate. Each time we achieve a goal, we set a new one, and we make it even more ambitious.
Q: If you were to list three essential traits in the ethics of a business manager, which ones would you mention?
A: Passion, of course, independence and energy; knowing how to see and analyse problems and to address them with practical solutions, flexibility and determination.
Q: Absolute moved to the new shipyard in 2008. What can you tell us about the new headquarters?
A: The new shipyard extends over 48,000 square metres, which are used for production and latest generation equipment. It has been designed with a sustainable vision to have a low environmental impact. The shipyard uses renewable technologies such as geothermal energy and solar panels, an air filtering and purification system and sustainable waste management solutions.
Q: Can you tell us about your business approach?
A: Our business approach has always been futuristic, innovative and enterprising. These traits are strongly connected to each other, creating a virtuous circle.
Absolute’s vision has always been focused on product innovation and manufacturing technologies, as well as on constant communication, both internal, between departments and external, as we consider market trends and the needs of our end customers.
This continuous dialogue strengthens our resourcefulness and our innovative vision and allows us to respond to market requirements with boats that meet our customers’ expectations and set new trends.
Also, our positive business performance and excellent reception of the innovations we have brought to the market, along with the company’s growth, have boosted our spirit of independence and desire to be innovative.